All of the 26 characters featured in the game are based on historical figures from the Warring States period of Japan. To start with, only Yukimura, Mitsuhide, Oichi, leyasu, Mitsunari, Ginchiyo and Kotaro are playable. As the specific requirements are being met, more characters will be unlocked. There is also a number of female characters, who don’t participate in the battles, like Oichi and Noh. There are 16 returning characters and 10 new ones, listed below.

Returning characters:

Yukimura Sanada. This character was based on Nobushige, an avid defender of Osaka against Tokugawa. After his death, rightfully or not, he has been proclaimed to be “the greatest warrior of the land”.
Nobunaga Oda – one of three powerful unifiers of Japan in the Warring States period.

Tadakatsu Honda – attended to Ieyasu Tokugawa’s campaigns as his retainer; known to have been an intelligent might warrior.

Keiji Maeda – possibly based on the historical figure of Toshimasu.
Kenshin Uesugi. He was one of the most powerful daimyōs of the Sengoku period, famous not only for his achievements on the battlefield but also for having hugely contributed to the growth of local industries and trade.

Mitsuhide Akechi – Nobunanga’s trusted vassal; famous for his betrayal of his lord Honnji.

Hideyoshi Toyotomi – another one of three unifiers in the Warring State period; the most famous peasant-samurai.

Masamune Date – survivor of heavy traumatising childhood, became the most dominate ruling power in Oshu; 17th head of the Date clan.
Hanzō Hattori – a famous retainer of Ieyasu.

Magoichi Saika – his real name and history are unclear; he possibly represents the leader of the rebels who opposed Nobunaga’s rise to power, the Saika Renegades.

Oichi – Nagamasa’s wife, a younger sister of Nobunaga, future wife of Katsuie, mother of the Three Azai Sisters.

Shingen Takeda – an influential leader of Kai Province, the 19th head of the Taked clan

Nō – Nobunaga’s wife, Dosan Saito’s daughter; her marriage had a political goal of conciliation of Oda and Saito clans.

Ina – sister in law of Yukimura Sanada, daughter of Tadakatsu Honda
Okuni (no Story Mode) – a famous founder of the Japanese dance style Kabuki; she was a priestess of the Izumo Grand Shrine
Ranmaru Mori (no Story Mode) – Naritoshi, third son of Yoshinari and Nobunaga’s page.

New characters in the SW2:

Ieyasu Tokugawa – third one of the unifiers; founder of the Tokugawa clan
Yoshihiro Shimazu
Musashi Miyamoto
Kotaro Fuma
Mitsunari Ishida
Nagamasa Azai
Kanetsugu Naoe
Sakon Shima
Ginchiyo Tachibana

These 3 characters have been removed:

Yoshimoto Imagawa
Goemon Ishikawa